The Politico reports that the Republicans are looking to build on recent efforts under President Bush to expand outreach to African Americans. Notably, they will try to run more black candidates in 2008:
The two new GOP candidates reflect the grass-roots level of experience and activism Steele is talking about. Kentucky lawyer Erwin Roberts worked his way up through state government, serving in Gov. Ernie Fletcher’s administration. In South Florida, Army Lt. Col. Allen West has spent his career in the military, serving in Iraq and now as an independent contractor to Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
Their candidacies come under the backdrop of a 2006 cycle where former RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman made a concerted but unsuccessful effort to recruit black candidates to federal and state offices. Steele lost his bid for the Senate in Maryland, and Ohio’s Ken Blackwell and Pennsylvania’s Lynn Swann lost their gubernatorial bids by double-digits...
Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star, also is considering a comeback against Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.).
This comes at an interesting time (for me anyway), since I've been talking to Dr. Tasha Philpot about her recent book "Race, Republicans and the Return of the Party of Lincoln." I expect to write more on the topic (probably over at the Standard), but Dr. Philpot's work has some interesting implications for the GOP and Republican candidates in general. In particular, it suggests that the party pursue more candidates like Lt. Col. West.